musée d'art contemporain
de Bordeaux

Exhibition // Off Site //

13.07.2017 -> 10.09.2017

Richard Long

Urban promenade

As part of the cultural season
Paysages Bordeaux 2017


The CAPC Bordeaux is pleased to honour British artist Richard Long (b. 1945 in Bristol). Three of his artworks from the collection of the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux can be seen at three different venues throughout the city: the Grand-Théâtre, Espace Saint-Rémi and the City Hall. This presentation is complemented by the in-situ artworks that are on permanent display at the museum café and its outdoor terraces.
Associated with the Land Art movement, Richard Long traverses wild, natural spaces in order to create sculptures using elementary forms—a symbol of his passage—or to collect the raw material necessary to the elaboration of his work. In 1969, he participated in the exhibition Quand les attitudes deviennent forme [When attitudes become form] in Bern and in 1972 at documenta 5 in Cassel, where his name was linked with the avant-garde greats of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The geometric forms of his sculptural oeuvre (circles, rectangles, spirals) can be likened to the work of certain minimalist artists and allow him to experiment with the physical relationships connecting man to space.
In 1981, the CAPC invited the artist to design an exhibition for the nave of the museum and its gallery spaces. Bordeaux, with its remarkable natural landscapes on the shores of the rivers Garonne and Gironde, was a source of inspiration for the artist, and from 1981 to 1990, he created a number of art pieces for the museum. Some of these were created specifically for the museum’s unique architectural space and were acquired for the CAPC Collection. The museum now boasts an ensemble of ten unique works by the artist.


The Promenade

Espace Saint-Rémi
13.07 − 27.08.2017
This in situ work by the artist is a sculpture consisting solely of white marble from the Pyrénées, broken into pieces, which are arranged on the ground according to a predetermined rectangle. With Stone Field, Richard Long creates a tension between fundamental precepts such as nature and culture, geometry and chaos, interior and exterior. The installation of this ‘stone field’ in the middle of the Espace Saint-Rémi, bears witness to the architecture of the site itself: this medieval church was transformed into an exhibition space almost 20 years ago.

Stone Field, 1989
White marble. Variable dimensions
CAPC Collection


Foyer of the Grand-Théâtre de Bordeaux
13.07 − 03.09.2017
Inside the sumptuous foyer of the Bordeaux opera house, this line of slate stones sourced from the oldest quarry in England (in Cornwall) forms a long, wide rectangle on the ground. The work strikes a balance between an old, natural material—which arranged in a neat linear fashion is a symbol that may be said to contrast with the disorder of the world—and the rigorous formalism of a human archetypal motif.

Cornwall Slate Line, 1981
278 stones (slate). 0,10 x 1,63 x 8,60 m
Donated by the artist in 1981. CAPC Collection


City Hall
13.07 − 10.09.2017
The sculpture known as Snake Circle is made from gneiss (a rock containing quartz, mica and feldspars). It is inspired by an archaic, poetic or even nostalgic gesture that evokes the idea of the mysterious trace left by man. Forming a circle of standing stones, this sculpture is informed by intentions different to those guiding Richard Long’s travels. Far from the perspectives or points of view that he draws in desert landscapes, the sculpture here brings the space to life and visitors are invited to discover the Mémorial du Palais Rohan in a new light.

Snake Circle, 1991
Gneiss (rock). Height : 0,70 m, Diameter: 4 m
CAPC Collection




Café du musée,
permanent works,
The circles of mud that face each other on the two opposing walls of the Café du Musée were created by Richard Long in the spring of 1990, following the renovation of the museum warehouse space (Entrepôt Lainé). The artist's work draws its meaning from the shift from nature to culture. Through his direct experience of the world, both natural (the materiality of the mud taken from the museum's surroundings) and cultural (the creation of a work within a space of human creation and memory), the artist provides a reflection on the real meaning of a work of art.

Garonne Mud Circles, 1990
Mud on wall. Diameter: 3.50 m
CAPC Collection

Garonne Mud Black Circle, 1990
Mud and vynil paint on the wall. Diameter: 3.50 m
CAPC Collection



Terraces of the museum, permanent works,
Situated on either side of the terrace of the CAPC, these in-situ stone lines consist of partially overlapping slate plates and limestone stones, respectively. Similar in spirit but different in their form, these two sculptures form a rectangle on the ground, the dimensions and production of which are pre-determined by the artist in a protocol preserved by the museum. The lines trace a path along which the visitor is invited to wander. The white limestone comes from the Malville quarry, north of Ribérac in the Dordogne Region, while the slate was extracted from one of the oldest quarries in Cornwall. 
‘I choose lines and circles because they do the job’, says the artist for whom walking invites reflection: ‘Walking is a way of drawing the passing of time’.

Ligne d'ardoise, Bordeaux 1985
Slate. 1,50 x 41,40 m
Frac Aquitaine Collection, on long-term loan to the CAPC

White Rock Line, 1990, remade 2014
Limestone. 1,50 x 4 m
CAPC Collection





-> City Hall, Espace Saint-Rémi, Grand-Théâtre de Bordeaux and CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux (terraces and Café du musée)
-> Disabled access

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